Thursday, December 23

Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours!

This is the Christmas I have been waiting years for!  The one where we will celebrate as a family of three, just as Joseph and Mary did so many years ago while holding their baby early in the morning in the manger.  And now that I have a son of my own – I think it means so much more…more than I actually describe!




Over the next few days I am looking forward to many firsts – Tipp’s first Christmas Eve Church service, Our first Christmas morning of bounding down the stairs to see what Santa left, the first of many gifts with Tipp’s name on them from “Mommy & Daddy”, taking Tipp in his adorable Christmas outfit to visit family and hopefully a White Christmas (a first for all of us)!

Luckily I have the next 10 days off to spend with Tipp…so let Christmas Vacation begin!!  We have lots of fun things planned – but secretly I want to be snowed in with no where to go.

Tuesday, November 30

Happy 5 Months!

Yes – this is a little late considering we are halfway to 6 months, but such is the life of a working mother!  I cannot believe Baby T is 5 months old.  He has cut his first tooth and another one is on the way!  IMG_6870

We are now getting much more structure to our lives and it’s quite possible that it is the result of me returning to work.  Going back was easier than the anticipation, but there have been a few days when I would just love to stay at home all day playing with Tipp!  Ben keeps Tipp Monday, Tuesday and Fridays.  On Wednesday and Thursdays he goes to Nana’s house.  They usually have fun playing, cooking, running errands or just hanging out with the girls after school.  I’d say we have settled into a nice little routine.

My first day off was Veteran’s Day and it was heavenly to spend the day with Tipp doing what we used to do.  We both snuggled in bed and slept in until 730am.  We spent the morning watching The Today Show and Kathi Lee & Hoda, then went shopping with Aunt Sara. 

We have adjusted to nursing and pumping while I am at work and so far that is going well.  I cannot believe my initial goal of 6 months is coming up! 

This month has been filled with visitors and weekends away.  We took Tipp to the Outer Banks for the first time while Ben and I ran the OBX Half Marathon.  We celebrated Halloween in Sanford at a big neighborhood party.  Tipp rode the hayride to trick or treat for a few houses, then decided he would much rather ride in the comfort of his own car seat.  We also survived daylight savings time – which is a curse to anyone with children!IMG_6758

Tipp is “talking” a lot more, reaches well for objects and can sit with assistance.  He also loves his Jumperoo and can finally reach the ground to bounce.

Saturday, November 6

Holiday Wishes Made Easy

As the holidays are sneaking up on us and I’m thinking more and more about simplicity this year, I have fallen in love with Shutterfly holiday cards.  Every year Ben and I take a picture to send in a Christmas card to our family and friends.  Many of you may remember last year’s card where we “announced” the upcoming arrival of Tipp by standing in front of our Christmas tree holding one of the first ultrasounds we had of our baby. 

For over 5 years now, I have used Shutterfly as a means to upload and store photos, print pictures, and make photobooks for our wedding, vacations and other special moments.  After Tipp’s arrival I made it easy on myself and ordered his birth announcements - I could not have been more thrilled with them and they were a piece of cake to make!  Never mind the quick turn around!  Typically for Christmas cards I find them on sale the previous year, print each photo and stuff them myself.  But, this year I think I would much rather let someone else do that work and spend the time with Tipp. 

I love receiving Christmas cards, especially with photos of our family and friends.  As our families are growing it is a treat to see updates, as well as get personalized wishes for the Holidays and New Year.   And honestly, my first thought when we found out we were expecting was being able to send adorable Holiday photo cards featuring Tipp year and after year!  This year Shutterfly has so many bright and cheery designs that I do not know how we will narrow down our choice.  They range from classy to whimsical and have cards to fit every personality.  Here are a few of my favorite designs:

image Perfect with 5 pictures…because how could I ever choose just one of Tipp!

image So classy…now we just need a family picture!

image I love this one…I have dreamed of a holiday picture in black and white with Tipp laying in a pile of lights! 

Now the only other hard part will be narrowing down my favorite photo or photos of Tipp to send! 

Wednesday, October 20

Happy 4 Months!


Oh My Goodness…I can’t believe you are 4 months old!  You are no longer a newborn and growing into such a big boy with a bright personality.  Although at times you are very unpredictable…when you decide you want something – you want it NOW!  That must be a Stafford trait!

It’s been a busy month with lots of milestones for you.  You have discovered your hands, started reaching for toys and you can roll over!  Mostly you enjoy rolling over from back to front, then get frustrated being on your belly.  Once on your belly you have gotten great at pushing up onto your elbows and holding your head up.  As soon as I can flip you back you have rolled back to your belly.  You have also started bearing weight on your legs and love “standing up.”


We had your 4 month appointment where you weighed 12 lbs and 4/5 oz…still at 10%, but gaining appropriately.  You are 25 inches tall and your head is 16 1/2 inches…both are in the 50% range.  We are learning you are going to be a lean baby!  In the past month breastfeeding has gotten a lot easier and you have become an efficient nurser, but becoming more distractible!  You also got 3 vaccines, which made for a sad and fussy evening.  You were so pitiful and we felt so sorry for how bad you felt. 

You spent your 4 month birthday weekend in Williamsburg shopping with me and Gommy.  You were such a trooper spending 10 hours shopping with the girls and everyone thought you were so cute.  I hope you enjoyed your weekend with the ladies since next year you will be having a boys weekend with Daddy – he missed you so much!


I am enjoying every second with you as the next few weeks are the last of me being at home.  Even when you wake up at 5am for the day, I look forward to bringing you to bed with me and dozing together while you nurse.  I also love playing with you and making you smile…I could stare at your smile all day as literally smile with your entire face.


We love you Baby T and look forward to what the next month brings to our lives!

Wednesday, October 13

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Gracing the cover of the newest Cooking Light was Peanut Butter Banana Bread…a perfect idea for the extremely ripe bananas I threw into the freezer the morning Tipp was born.  I had planned on making an extra loaf of banana bread, but time got away from me.  Whenever I have ripe bananas, but no time to make banana bread, I peel the bananas and freeze them in chunks. 

This issue had several versions of Banana bread including a Bananas Foster recipe, which I think we will making very soon!

The Peanut Butter version was awesome!  I could have drank the icing!


Peanut Butter Banana Bread (Cooking Light)


  • 1 1/2  cups  mashed ripe banana
  • 1/3  cup  plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1/3  cup  creamy peanut butter
  • 3  tablespoons  butter, melted
  • 2  large eggs
  • 1/2  cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 6.75  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4  cup  ground flaxseed
  • 3/4  teaspoon  baking soda
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cinnamon
  • 1/8  teaspoon  ground allspice
  • 2  tablespoons  chopped dry-roasted peanuts
  • Cooking spray


  • 1/3  cup  powdered sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  1% low-fat milk
  • 1  tablespoon  creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare bread, combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed. Add granulated and brown sugars; beat until blended.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 5 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; cool.

To prepare glaze, combine powdered sugar, milk, and 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Drizzle glaze over bread.

Tipp Rolling Over

Sunday morning, Tipp rolled over for the first time and since then he has not stopped!  He is best at rolling from back to belly, then gets frustrated…he hates tummy time!  As soon as I help him roll to his back again-he rolls over to his tummy.  He is quite proud of himself and smiles immediately after his “trick” then gets fussy out of frustration.  Luckily he is forced to get more tummy time and in the past few days he has been able to push up on his elbows more.

Monday, he kept rolling over anytime I turned away even if just for a second!  But, I finally caught it on camera very early Tuesday morning.  I guess we will start trying to wean him from his Swaddle Me soon and take the bumpers out of the crib as he gets more and more mobile!

Tuesday, September 28

Sweet & Spicy Citrus Tilapia

On our First “Little” Family vacation several weeks ago, we had many opportunities to enjoy relaxing meals al fresco where we could try new recipes.  I found this recipe in the August edition of Cooking Light and it was perfect after a long day on the beach.   You could use this marinade for chicken, pork, shrimp or any other type of fish – it is so versatile. 

We enjoyed fresh grilled veggies and lime scented rice as sides.IMG_5980 Sweet & Spicy Citrus Tilapia

  • 4  (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/2  cup  fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
  • 3  tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 1  tablespoon  brown sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2  teaspoons  lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1/4  teaspoon  black pepper
  • 1/4  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 2  garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2  teaspoon  paprika

Arrange fish in a single layer in a shallow roasting pan coated with cooking spray. Combine orange juice and next 9 ingredients (through garlic); pour over fish. Let stand 15 minutes.

Preheat broiler.

Sprinkle fish with paprika; broil 15 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Drizzle sauce over fish.

Tipp’s Baptism

image Tipp was baptized on Sunday, September 19 and this was an extra special occasion.  Our new pastor, Dr. Carl Frazier was appointed to our church in June.  Coincidentally he was my previous pastor at my parents church in Sanford and married Ben and I at Duke Chapel.  imageThe service was wonderful with all of our families in attendance.  Tipp was so peaceful during the ceremony and woke up just in time to be baptized.  He was very alert while Carl walked him through congregation while everyone sang “Jesus Loves You” to him; and I was filled with such emotion knowing not only the commitment we made to raise our child with Christian principles, but also the commitment our entire church family had made as well.image After the service we enjoyed a fantastic lunch at Lucky 32 with everyone.  The icing on the cake (or cupcake) was chocolate Cafe Carolina Cupcakes for dessert.  Tipp received many wonderful gifts including photo frames to document the day, a book of Bible stories for children, many cute clothes for the winter season, and money for his 529 plan.  IMG_6108IMG_6103IMG_6105Ben and I feel incredibly blessed that we have such a wonderful family that loves Tipp so much!!  It was truly a special day that we will never forget.image

Football and Our House Divided

Football season has finally arrived and we are so thrilled to start dressing Tipp in our favorite team colors.  One of the first games of the season was VT Hokies vs ECU Pirates and Tipp cheered on the Hokies to their first win of the season.  I’m sure he was the good luck charm they needed.image IMG_6102In true Stafford-Hedrick fashion we watched the game over lots of snacks and munchies, then followed with a cookout. IMG_6096Virginia Tech and ECU are not the only team Tipp is starting to root for…he has plenty of Carolina Panther gear for the season!  Ben and Tipp enjoyed a Sunday afternoon watching football all day.  The Panthers did not win, but we think we have one cute fanatic to take to the games soon!  IMG_6023 IMG_6025Laura and Lillie gave Tipp Stripes for a baby shower gift since it’s the Chinese year of the Tiger.  They picked out a Carolina Panther outfit for him to wear, which conveniently Tipp is almost the same size as Stripes and could wear his helmet!   IMG_6037 IMG_5914

Miles 8 & 9

I am now running into unchartered territory…the farthest I have ever ran!  My mom and I have become training partners and conquered both 8 and 9 mile long runs in the past two weeks.  imageThis past weekend we braved the rain for a 9 mile run on the American Tobacco Trail.  Running in the rain is so much fun…we did not have a dry bone on us when we returned, but we made amazing time at 10:56 per mile. 

We both have enjoyed training together so much we kept thinking of ways we could run the races together.  Finally around mile 7.5 I agreed to run the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon with her on Oct. 24 - she signed me up that night!   I cannot believe I am running not one, but two half marathons within 3 weeks of each other, let alone just months after having a baby!

After the Myrtle Beach Mini, I’ll taper off again, but continue training with Ben for the OBX Half while she watches Tipp during our long runs.

Happy 3 Months Tipp!!

It is already fall and Tipp has turned 3 months!  Where has the summer gone?  He no longer reminds me of a newborn even though he is still on the small side (11 lbs, 2 oz).  He is nursing like a champ now and meeting all of his milestones so his doctor is not worried.  IMG_6081Tipp is incredibly strong and can hold his head up really well now.  He tolerates tummy time a little better, but would much prefer to lay on his back under his play gym.  He loves to bat at the toys and kick which restarts the music and lights.  He is also trying very very hard to roll over.  He rocks from side to side, but favors his left, to rotate himself around the play mat.  

He has become much more social and his entire face lights up when he smiles…we will do anything for a smile and a coo!  Generally he has become a happy baby!  Tipp is also becoming more aware of toys, so much so, I went out and bought him new one.  He has also discovered his feet and hands.IMG_6088We have been so blessed to have such an awesome sleeper!  Tipp’s bedtime routine is being established with a bath, book, and nursing around 830-9pm every night.  He usually sleeps until 6am hardly waking any during the night.  I think Ben and I will need the sleep training to let him be sometimes and not get up to pop the paci back in!!  Lately we have been enjoying his morning nursing session in bed and Tipp usually falls back asleep.  I come downstairs for coffee and a little “me” time while Ben dozes off beside Tipp.  It’s the sweetest thing to go check on them and see my boys snoozing away!

New Friends & New Recipes

Since I have such an extended maternity leave, I have been enjoying the benefits of being at stay at home mom.  I joined our church’s MOPS group and love the fellowship every other Friday we share over breakfast.

Each group takes turns bringing a huge spread of breakfast that includes casseroles, breads, fruit, grits, coffee and juice – which is an awesome way to start the weekend.   My group was chosen to provide breakfast for our second meeting and I decided to make a Chocolate Zucchini bread after reading several recipes in a latest issue of Cooking Light.

This bread is incredibly moist and tasted amazing.  I was nervous about making a recipe without trying it first, but I got so many compliments and requests for the recipe.  It makes 2 loaves and the first loaf I kept for us since I was too anxious to get it out of the pan and it crumbled.  It was still wonderful and between Ben and I we ate it within 2 days!


Chocolate Zucchini Bread

  • 2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth.

In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and chocolate; beat well. Stir in the flour baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean.

Wednesday, September 8

Ready to Run…

I must be crazy, but I’m training for the OBX Half Marathon!  I actually registered back in April while I was pregnant knowing it would be great motivation to get back out on the road running again.  I got the go-ahead at my 6 week post delivery check up and have started a 16 week training program.  imageNot having run a single time since last October, starting back was actually much easier than I thought!  I started slow with just running/walking 2 miles and focusing on covering the distance.  Slowly my pace has gotten faster, my endurance better and my distances longer.  This past week at the beach I did a ton of running and it felt great!  Saturday I ran 6 miles with my mom at a 11:30 pace.

13.1 miles seems pretty daunting and I have moments where I ask myself why I thought it would be a good idea, but overall I feel good setting a goal for myself.  2010 will be an awesome year with the birth of Tipp and me finishing my first Half!

Tipp’s First Church Service

When Tipp was 8 weeks old, we finally decided it was time (or safe) to take him to church for the first time.  Since our day starts around 6 or 7am we decided to go to an earlier service and had intentions of possibly taking him to the nursery if needed.  IMG_5858 IMG_5862IMG_5860 Our timing was perfect and he ate right before leaving.  At the start of the service he immediately fell asleep and slept the entire time.  All of our “neighbors” loved having him in church and were so happy to meet him.  Ben and I were happy to be back at church and to finally say hello to our new pastor, Dr. Carl Frazier.  Carl is new to First United Methodist Cary, but not new to us.  He was our pastor at my old church in Sanford and actually married Ben and I at Duke Chapel.  We are thrilled he will baptize Tipp on September 19 and that Tipp will grow up with a wonderful church family!

Happy 2 Months Tipp

Our sweet baby boy is now 2 months old and we are falling in love with him more as each day passes!!  Tipp is becoming more aware and noticing his surroundings.  He loves to smile, especially at his Daddy!  I think the fussy period has finally passed and everyone is getting more sleep.  At night he sleeps like a champ waking usually once around 3 or 4 am to nurse.  Although he is cat-napper during the day, but we’ll take that as long as he continues to technically sleep through the night!IMG_5872He had his 2 month check up and got 3 shots and an oral vaccine and those were not fun.  Luckily he did well with them and we only needed one dose of Tylenol when he got fussy later in the evening.  Fortunately we did not have to experience any fevers.  He is still a little peanut weighing only 9 lbs. 8 oz, which is in the 10th percentile.  His length is 22.75 inches and puts him in the 50th percentile for height.  Hopefully over the next month breastfeeding will become even easier as he gets more efficient and gains more weight, but overall it is going well and I’m so glad we have stuck it out!IMG_5882Over the next month we look forward to watching our little man grow and start to interact with us by cooing more and laughing.   Ben and I cannot stop saying how cute he is…we now cannot remember life without him! 

Tuesday, August 3

Tipp’s First Trip to the Beach

At just 3 1/2 weeks old. Tipp enjoyed his very first trip to the beach.  The thought of taking a newborn on a 3 hour drive was pretty daunting, but he was a champ and slept the entire way.  We only made one stop for a feeding and diaper change!

The first night at the beach Tipp slept 5 glorious hours…I felt like a new person after a decent nights sleep.  Saturday morning he was in such a good mood, so we set out on a shopping trip to the outlets.  Of course no trip to the outlets is complete without a stop in Carter’s.  I also did some shopping for myself since I only have 8 lbs to go until my pre-pregnancy weight.  I was getting tired of the lounge pants and camis I’ve been wearing since Tipp was born.IMG_5569Over the weekend Tipp also met his Great Uncle Robbie and Aunt Linda as well as his Aunt Christie, Uncle Daniel and cousins Payne and Oscar.   IMG_5616IMG_5619 IMG_5624Ben took him into the pool for his first swim, which he sort or enjoyed!  Sunday evening we took a walk to the beach for his first official trip to the beach complete with putting his tiny toes in the sand and surf.   IMG_5587IMG_5592IMG_5603

The weekend was a great break from home and we look forward to enjoying many more trips to the beach over the next few weeks, months and year as a little family.  IMG_5632IMG_5630IMG_5637

Happy 1 Month

The days are flying by…so much so it has taken me 2 weeks to post this!  We celebrated Tipp’s One Month with an informal photo shoot followed by his first dinner out at Tyler’s Taproom.  Our friends Chris & Sam and Rick & Tara also joined us.  Tipp loved Tyler’s and mostly slept the entire night.  IMG_5650At one month we are still figuring each other out.  He is finally over 8 lbs, and still nursing every 2-3 hours.  Some nights are better than others, but I am really excited that I made it to my first goal of one month for breastfeeding. 

We are looking forward to getting a little bit more sleep and seeing Tipp grow, although not too fast! 

Wednesday, July 21

Fourth of July with Our Little Firecracker

Since Tipp was only 2 1/2 weeks old, we stayed home for the 4th this year rather than heading to the beach.  Nana, Big Daddy and the Aunt’s were also in town, so we finally left the house for more than an hour to enjoy a little cookout.  My dad made ribs and we had homemade peach ice cream.  IMG_5535We had such good evening being out of the house and I think Tipp enjoyed his first 4th of July!